For those living outside of their official registered address, May 7 was the day to vote, and there’s one more day to go, May 14, to put a pin in this election. Kicking off on one of the hottest days of the year and not entirely free of controversy, the first day of voting yielded a few lessons for next Sunday.
One BK staffer voting at Wat Thatthong temple next to Ekkamai BTS, despite the convenient location, was met with a big crowd arriving at 8:30am—and ended up waiting for 90 minutes in 37C heat. And they weren’t the only ones. There were reports of more than a dozen voters fainting
waiting in the heat at Ramkhamhaeng University.
A record-breaking 2.2 million people voted on Sunday, and more than 40,000
of them did so at Siam Paragon mall—a trial at the best of times. Social media was agog with posts of the lines and crowds. The Election Commission reports that average voting wait time is 3-5 minutes, but not everyone is so lucky. If you’re planning to vote on the big day this Sunday, even though rains are expected to cool the city off a bit, remember to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and water—and maybe a Kindle or a book to keep yourself entertained while queuing.
Given the possibility of long lines, voters should be sure to double check they’ve arrived in the correct voting spot. And that your name is definitely in this district. Some voters this last Sunday found QR codes to assist in the process.
Remember, voters, there are two ballots—one green and one purple. The green one is for voting for the party-listed MP, and the ballot comes with all the party names next to the numbers. The purple is for the candidate specifically in your district; there are no names next to the numbers, so make sure you know exactly which number you’re voting for in your district.
Your ID card is the most important thing of all, is the ID card, which works even if expired. Drivers’ licenses and passports are acceptable, as are electronic identification cards
using the ThaiID app, DLT QR Licence, and applications for people with disabilities—but, honestly, why risk it?
Even with ID, a number of stories have drawn attention online on the protection of ballots. Around 50 envelopes were mislabeled with the wrong codes
in Nonthaburi; election authorities said there was a fail safe and this would not happen again. Mislabeled envelopes were also reported in Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, and Nakhon Ratchasima, as well as Rangsit polling station and Siam Paragon polling station. There have also been as-yet unconfirmed reports on vote buying
, but viewers can watch their ballots on 24-hour surveillance via government portal
—for all the good that will do.
But, hey, the Election Commission only had a whopping budget of B6,000,000,000
(that reads six billion baht) to organize this election. You queued early, fought the crowd, risked heat stroke, got stuck in traffic and fought the crowd on a Sunday—and this was the best they could do with six billion baht. Billion. With a “B”.
Sign papers from the election workers, do your thing in the booth, put the ballots in envelopes, have the staff member sign, and then put it in the box. Congratulations, citizen, see you on the other side.
You can also check out our illustration for some pre-election tips here